Are We Cheating God?
I confess that I have barely read any books of the Old Testament properly, so I decided to start reading the book of Malachi today. And the opening verses struck me as a resonant theme among the unbelievers of this world.
2 "I have loved you," says the Lord.
"But you ask, 'How have you loved us?'
"Where is the proof that God loves us"?, ask a lot of people. We look for proof in our superior intellect, beauty, faster cars, lifter mansions and so forth. To be fair, in the days of the Old Covenant, that was how God showed his love to his beloved Israel. He defeated their enemies and he made them prosperous in the land. But how is it relevant today, in the context of the New Covenant, which is about reconciling with God through Jesus Christ, for a place in God's eternal kingdom? Should we still look for the richness of material blessings we have, to be assured of God's love for us? When we claim that we believe in Jesus, do we not believe in God's love for us? Let us reflect on that for a while today.
The second important theme in this passage is about cheating God. The Israelites cheated on him by promising him their choicest livestock but sacrificing lame and diseased animals instead. That was the era of burnt offerings and sacrifices in lieu of atonement of sins. God says in this passage that he would rather the priests did not open the temple to offer these sacrifices! What about in the modern era? Do we have unconfessed sin in our lives? Do we do the things we do, even ministering for the Lord, with an ulterior or selfish motive? Are we cheating the Lord through our lives?
Lord God, thank you that you are the same yesterday, today and forever. Help us to understand you, your love for us, and be able to offer ourselves as pure and holy, living sacrifices for your ministry, amen.